And now it's been five years since his last win.
His last victory anywhere was in capturing the 2013 Bridgestone and if he should claim success this week Woods would become the first male golfer anywhere to win the same event nine times.
"It has always been one of my favorite golf courses on the entire tour", Woods said.
Woods, who qualified for the World Golf Championship event by moving into the top 50 in the world two weeks ago, came one hole away from playing without a bogey for the first time since the final day of the 2015 Greenbrier Classic.
After missing just one fairway on the back nine, Woods missed three more in succession after making the turn, but scrambled for par on each occasion and then holed from 15 feet for birdie on the fifth.
Woods will tee off Thursday morning.
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"It certainly wasn't easy to get back in this event", said Woods, who is still gunning to make Jim Furyk's US Ryder Cup team on merit despite the fact that he's already a vice-captain.
Woods is two weeks removed from a T6 finish at the British Open that vaulted him 17 spots to No. 50 in the World Golf Rankings and into this weekend's tournament.
"Also, this is away from the stadium golf that we seem to play a lot now on Tour, and I'm just excited to be here and be able to play".
The 14-time Major champion feels he is in good shape and ready to win again after recovering from a long-term injury.
For Woods, the satisfaction stemming from his presence in Akron this week is twofold. I had a great chance at Valspar early in the year, and even a week ago I had a great shot at it.
"I've always been a fan of this golf course, ever since I first played here in '97", Woods said.
"This event has been very special to me over the years, and it's sad to see it leave Firestone", Woods said. "I played myself into a great position". That part I was very positive about but I made a couple of mistakes there at 11 and 12 that ended up costing me the chance of winning the tournament.
Molinari enjoyed a scheduled holiday after his victory in Scotland and he chose to keep the celebrations low key, getting used to having the Claret Jug in his possession after a busy summer, which has already seen the Italian win the European PGA Championship, The Open and the Quicken Loans National in America.
"I started out the new season and I really haven't played that well", Matsuyama said Tuesday.